Ancient and modern prophets have repeatedly reminded us of the sacred responsibility we have toward each other. The opportunity and obligation to serve our neighbors is codified in the great commandment, second only to loving God with all our heart, mind, and strength, of loving thy neighbor as thyself (Mark 12: 30–31). The application of this injunction is examined in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37). Here we find a disciple, after questioning and verifying the nature of the two great commandments, who asked the Savior, “Who is my neighbor?” The scriptures state the disciple was attempting to justify himself, but the Savior took the opportunity to teach an expanded principle.
After describing the unresponsive behavior of the priest and Levite toward the man who fell among thieves on his way to Jericho, the Savior then made it very clear what a loving neighbor would do. The Samaritan had compassion on the wounded traveler, cared for his welfare, took him to safety, and paid for his extended care. The disciple then acknowledged the expanded definition of being a neighbor.
Many of us may need to expand our definition of who our neighbor might be and how to behave toward them. I find that I often ask myself the difficult and complex question of whether I am responding to the opportunity to be a loving neighbor in a modern and, perhaps, too comfortable world.